CENTRAL COAST FISHING
Week of September 25th
In the Creel: The focus now shifts to the rivers as the autumn storms begin to arrive. All of those Coho left offshore when the ocean season closed will move into the rivers eventually, so that fishery should be heating up before long. Also with fall Chinook and cutthroat trout in the rivers, too, something ought to grab your lure. Lots of boats on the bays these days, so it appears effort is increasing there as well. Ocean fishing, meanwhile, has slowed in general, both due to weather and a drop-off in the bite. It’s been rough enough this week that some of the charter boats are taking a few days off; they could use some R&R after a busy and successful summer season. For clammers, there are no more morning minus tides in 2014. Dig?
Salmon River: Fall Chinook are moving into the system at a fair to good rate. Anglers are having the best results fishing the incoming tide or focusing around the high or low slacks. Until we get some additional rainfall, you should mainly target tidewater. Cutthroat trout fishing is fair through the mainstem with sea-run cutthroat found in the lower portion of the river.
Siletz River: Fall Chinook fishing is producing good numbers of fish with anglers having the best results in the lower to middle sections of tidewater. Trolling spinners or herring is producing well during the incoming tide through high slack, and bobber fishing is decent now in middle to upper tidewater. The wild Coho fishery opened on September 15th and anglers are getting the best action trolling cut-plug herring or casting spinners from the bank in the lower river and around the mouth of the bay. Steelhead fishing has been slow. The best chance to hook into a summer steelhead is in the early mornings from Moonshine Park up to the deadline. However, fire season regs are in effect and the upper river above Moonshine Park has been closed to all public entry until further notice. Call 541-336-3819 for the most current land closure information. The cutthroat trout fishery is fair with sea-run cutthroat being found in the middle to lower section of the river. Using small presentations such as spinners, jigs under a bobber, or fly fishing can produce good results.
Yaquina River: Fall Chinook fishing has picked up recently with anglers having fair to good success trolling between River Bend and the airport boat launch. Some nice Chinook are also being caught between Canyon Quarry and Elk City. Trolling herring or large spinners on the incoming tide has been productive especially around slack tide. Some wild Coho have now entered the river with the best chances likely to be from trolling herring or spinners in the lower bay up to around the oyster farm. Cutthroat trout fishing is fair with sea-run cutthroat found in upper tidewater and in the lower portions of the Yaquina and Big Elk above the head of tide.
Alsea River: Fall Chinook is really good right now with anglers catching fish from the mouth of the river all the way up through tidewater. Trolling herring or lures in the lower portion of the bay and near Drift Creek has been productive, along with bobber fishing in the middle to upper section of tide water. Fishing the incoming tide or the high and low slacks tends to produce the best results. The wild Coho salmon season is open with anglers catching silvers in the lower bay area. Trolling herring or casting spinners from the bank can be quite effective for Coho. Sea-run cutthroat trout can be found in the lower to middle section of the mainstem. Resident cutthroat are spread throughout the basin.
Central Coast Lakes: Rainbow trout fishing is still slow and will be until the water cools down. For now, fish early in the morning or near cool water zones until temperatures cool off as autumn progresses.
Saltwater fishing and shellfish harvesting…
Bays and Ocean:
* BOTTOM FISH Bottom fishing has been spotty, due to cold ocean water temperatures and rough seas. Anglers have had to work to fill their bag limits, but a few more lingcod have been showing up in the mix this past week. The ocean outside of the 30-fathom curve is closed to bottom fishing until September 30th.
* TUNA Overall albacore fishing continues to be fair to good, when and if you can get out. The best catch rates have been south of the Central Coast off of Charleston and Winchester Bay with about 5 fish per angler. Albacore were reported to be as close as 16 miles offshore before the snotty weather set in this week. Typically these fish move closer to the beach in September but at the same time they seem to go off the bite.
* SALMON South of Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain ocean waters remain open for Chinook salmon through the end of October, but are now closed to Coho. Chinook fishing has been marginal in ocean waters with the best catch rates off Garibaldi and Winchester Bay with about 0.15 Chinook per angler.
* HALIBUT The Central Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain) nearshore Pacific halibut season, inside the 40-fathom line, is open seven days a week until the quota is taken or October 31st. The most recent report shows that about 39% of the quota remains for this fishery.
* RAZOR CLAMS Razor clamming remains closed from the Oregon/California border to Heceta Head due to elevated levels of domoic acid. All other Central Coast beaches are open for razors, but there are no more minus tides in September. The next series doesn’t begin until October 7th, and those will be near sunset or after dark. October Tide Tables.
* BAY CLAMS The best low tides are now in the evenings, but even a +1.0 or +2.0 foot low can allow bay clamming opportunities, especially for purple varnish clams that are often found when the tide is as high as +4.0 feet. Sport clammers should be able to collect daily limits of cockles, gaper clams and butter clams from the popular sites in Siletz, Yaquina and Alsea Bays. For shellfish regs and identification, go here.
* CRAB Bay crabbing is having its ups and downs (pun intended), though Alsea Bay is still a hotspot. Ocean crabbing is improving and has been moderate to good off the Central Coast. The recreational ocean crabbing season closes on October 15th.
Commercial Fishing: Not much effort in the past few days due to some serious fall weather. When the fleet does get out, it continues to have pretty good results on all targeted species.
Fore-Cast: River fisherman should see some decent weather this weekend with a little sunshine and light winds but a chance of showers is in there, too, so take along a rain jacket. The bays should be settled down by tomorrow and over the weekend. It might be a little choppy at times, though, with patchy fog in the mornings. Offshore, the season’s first big storm has passed and ocean conditions are expected to improve. Still some SW breeze on Friday at 10-15 knots, maybe a few gusts around 20, westerly swells 9 feet and a chance of showers. Saturday and Sunday, light N to W winds 5-10 knots with a W swell of 6-7 feet and 2 foot chop. Another weather front may impact local waters early next week.
Notice to Mariners… There’s a new Yaquina Bay and River Channel depth tabulation for Chart 18581. These depths are based on the latest survey work done in May 2014. Go here to download the image.
Fishin’ with Chris does not come with a warranty but, fortunately, the worst day fishing is still better than the best day working. Information is supplied by the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, NOAA, and local fishermen. So… don’t blame me!
– Chris Burns